Open field farming was a system, which included the village and the people that were living there. Most people that were living in the village owned a strip of land, which they would look after and grow crops on, usually the same crop as the other strip owners. Each strip usually had two to four wide ridges.
Common land was for everyone who farmed land and the more land they owned the more animals they could have on the common land. There were problems about squatters on the common land, as they had no right to be on it but some squatters worked as casual labourers so they were sometimes accepted.
Crop rotation was when each year a different crop was placed in the place the other crop that was there before so the soil wouldn’t become exhausted.
Open field farming was sometimes criticised as animals began to wonder other people’s fields and ruin their crops and vegetation that was growing there. It also annoyed people because if people on one strip of land did not weed their strip then the weeds would grow over to the other person’s strips.
Animals also got diseases and were breeding whenever they wanted or pleased. Back then they did not have what we have ‘Selective Breeding’ so the animals young could turn out deformed.
Robert Bakewell introduced the first methods of selective breeding and made his own type of sheep called ‘The New Leicester’, which were a very fatty sort of sheep and had a nice big fleece. These sheep were mainly breed to be eaten as back then they loved fatty meats. The colling brothers also used Bakewells methods to produce ‘The Durham Shorthorn’.